Flailing, twisting, turning, damp, scowling. Scarlett could think of nothing better than a good night’s sleep, nothing worse than its fruitless pursuit. She hit the lights, lit a cigarette, grabbed a celebrity gossip mag from her bedside. That worked. Eventually. She dreamed of her childhood: country fields, the big climbing tree, Grampy’s farm. Grampy had been tall and thin, distinguished and quiet, with a tinge of the Old World manners that his mother, Katinka, had brought from Copenhagen.
Scarlett dreamed him consulting his pocket watch and, asleep, remembered the cousins’ rumors about that beautiful old watch. It had alternately descended from emperors, saved his life in the war, been dug up from the Titanic. Time had stretched on the farm — empty endless time stretched ahead and important steady history stretched back. The farm was rhythmic, living by the short cycles of the sun and moon and the longer seasons of harvest and drought.
One summer she’d been there when the cat whelped and the tumbling kittens came rolling through her dream, out from under the craggy tree. Scarlett had been allowed to have one of those kittens. So long ago. She’d always had a pet spot — in her heart, mind, apartment, life. A rotating cast of characters and species filling that post. What did she name that kitten? Ah, yes. Sherman.